Space: Extensive and Intensive, Actual and Virtual

Manuel DeLanda

in Deleuze and Space

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print June 2005 | ISBN: 9780748618743
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671762 | DOI:
Space: Extensive and Intensive, Actual and Virtual

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This chapter argues that there are two kinds of variation in Deleuze's work, arising from the fact that there are two kinds of substances: those with intensive properties and those with extensive properties. That which you can grasp, cut, twist, and turn is extensive; that which affects you, but does not yield to your attempt to contain it, is, like wind in your face, intensive. Intensive differences are, as Deleuze points out, indivisible. As sensible as this distinction seems, it is not sufficient for Deleuze to ground his ontology, because it assumes a rather too rigorous distinction between the intensive and extensive. For Deleuze, change is only possible if all substances are at least partly intensive, that is, capable of that form of variation he describes as ‘becoming’. The chapter shows that ‘becoming’ is effectively a movement between different forms of intensity – from very low forms, such as one finds in the more lumpish, that is, to all intents and purposes ‘extensive’ objects, to very high forms of intensity, such as one finds in computer designs. This requires an agile form of mathematics to grasp.

Keywords: Deleuze; substances; intensive properties; extensive properties

Chapter.  3948 words. 

Subjects: Social and Political Philosophy

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